Healthy Fare for Kids

Our Recipes

Lentil Castellucciano


From The Mozza Cookbook by Nancy Silverton

Leftovers are awaiting me for lunch ... and I can't wait! I'm going to take a scoop of Lentil Castellucciano and top with a slice of fresh mozzarella cheese then place in the microwave. After it heats, I'm going to eat spoonfuls of hearty lentils paired with the creaminess that only a dairy product can add. And it's all so easy and quick. Or try this simple and delicious recipe as a side dish.


¼  cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼ pound prosciutto (optional but it really adds nice flavor)
1 large Spanish onion, finely chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1 celery rib, finely chopped
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon double-concentrated tomato paste
1 pound Umbrian lentils (about 2½ cups) or lentilles du Puy or beluga lentils  (I use brown lentils)
2 quarts chicken stock
¼ cup finishing-quality extra-virgin olive oil


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan or a stockpot over medium-high heat until the oil is almost smoking and slides easily in the pan, 2 to 3 minutes.
  2. Add the prosciutto and cook to render the fat but NOT brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the onion, carrot and celery, season with salt and pepper, and sauté for about 10 minutes, until the vegetables have softened and the onion is translucent.
  3. Add the garlic and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until it is fragrant, stirring constantly to prevent it from browning. Move the vegetables to create a bare spot in the pan, add the tomato paste to that spot, and cook for 1 minute, stirring, to caramelize the tomato paste slightly.
  4. Add the lentils and 3 cups of the stock; increase the heat to high and bring the stock to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer the lentils, stirring occasionally, until most of the stock is absorbed, about 30 minutes.
  5. Add 2 more cups of the stock and simmer, stirring occasionally, until it is absorbed, about 30 minutes. Continue to cook the lentils in this way, adding 1 or 2 cups of stock as necessary so the lentils are covered and soupy but not drowning, until they are tender and creamy, 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 45 minutes.
  6. If you have used all the liquid and the lentils are not done, continue cooking, using water in place of stock. When the lentils are done, if there is too much liquid in the pan, increase the heat to medium to cook it off until the lentils are creamy but not soupy. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper, if desired.   

(You can prepare the lentils to this point up to three days in advance. Set the lentils aside to cool to room temperature, transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate the lentils until you are ready to serve them. Just before serving, warm the lentils over medium heat, stirring often and adding enough water to loosen the lentils to a creamy consistency). 

Finally, Drizzle the finishing-quality olive oil into the lentils, stirring vigorously, until the lentils are creamy and emulsified, about 1 minute. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Healthy Fare for Kids Meal

With a 2-3 ounce portion of lentils, paired with a serving of dairy - like an ounce of cheese, organic milk or plain yogurt - this make a great complete meal. If using as a side, place a one ounce portion next to your main course and vegetable.

Prep Skills

To make your life easier, watch this short video on how to chop an onion

Good Food Thoughts

Try to buy local and seasonal ingredients and shop at your local farmers market.

Equipment Needed

chef's knife
cutting board with a wet cloth or mat underneath to prevent slippage
stockpot - at least 6 quarts
measuring cups and spoons



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